The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Labour Party say they are pro ‘sustainable shooting’

At the recent autumn Labour conference, the shadow environment secretary confirmed the party’s support for shooting within the law.

Labour gave a clear endorsement of “sustainable shooting conducted according to the law” as they announced their intention to create a ‘nature manifesto’ ahead of the next general election.

Speaking at the joint BASC and Angling Trust rural reception at Labour’s autumn conference last week, shadow environment secretary Steve Reed claimed the party wants a “respectful relationship” with the countryside.

Mr Reed said: “Keir Starmer wants that to happen, and we know that means we have to develop a very respectful relationship with the countryside; that means people from urban seats like me not telling people who live in and enjoy the countryside how they should live their lives.”

Mr Reed has been shadow environment secretary for just five weeks, and the MP for North Croydon has never held a seat outside of Greater London. He continued: “That respectful approach is absolutely necessary if we’re going to form a government and then be a successful government. And that includes us supporting shooting that is sustainable and conducted according to the law.”

In a recent Country Land and Business Association (CLA) polling survey, they found that Conservative voting intention in the 100 most rural constituencies has dropped 18% and risen 16% for Labour. This could mean a loss of 20 seats for the Tories. Rural voters may be wary that Labour are courting the countryside vote to capitalise on rural Conservative disaffection.

Author and conservationist Richard Negus told ST: “I take Labour’s commitment to support sustainable shooting with a pinch of salt. I don’t think Labour have much of an idea about regional shooting practices, and what is Labour’s benchmark for ‘sustainable’ shooting?  I do believe, however, that Labour have an interest in the environment, and shooting is one of the cogs in the wheel of environmental recovery. The countryside is full of practical conservationists and Labour can only reach their environmental commitments if they get land managers and owners on board. If we can help Labour form their ‘nature manifesto’ then we should. Rural communities should not see shooting in isolation, we need to reframe the countryside’s importance to political parties.”

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.